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A pack of problems: Are Ireland's forwards failing to match the intensity of the backs?

Today’s podcast suggests that the back are actually performing pretty well in Japan but are being let down by the pack.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

IT’S NOT OFTEN that post-match discussion after a 35-0 win centres around what went wrong, but such was Ireland’s laboured performance against Russia that some questions demand answers as a potential quarter-final looms. 

On today’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly, Murray Kinsella joined Gavan Casey and Sean Farrell from Japan with the latest reaction from the Ireland camp post-Russia.

The suggestion was put forward that Ireland’s backs have actually been performing pretty well in Japan, and that blame for the back-to-back poor performances lies more with the forward pack. 

Sean Farrell offered that it’s down to a hesitancy from Ireland’s back-five in the pack:

It goes back to the ruck. Joe Schmidt has always based every team he’s built around the ruck and ruck efficiencies, and these two-second rucks. When you have guys looking as hesitant as Ireland’s second-rows and back-rows, they look hesitant entering the ruck.”They’re not quite sure where that point of impact is going to be. And they’re almost waiting around to see what happens next rather than forcing the issue.”


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With the importance placed on Ireland’s pack under Schmidt, it stands to reason that an underperforming pack may be a root cause of an underperforming team. 

“2018 was built around that pack, around the tight-five, and how relentless they are in carrying and getting over the gainline no matter how many phases it takes, they’ll get there.”

Speaking to the media earlier today, Rory Best conceded that Ireland weren’t doing the basics as well as they should,  another area they will hope to remedy ahead of their final pool game against Samoa on 12 October. 

You can listen to The42 Rugby Weekly in full here. Sign up to become a member of The42 to get a daily Rugby Weekly Extra podcast from Murray Kinsella on the ground in Japan. 

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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